the area or 'zone' of a photograph,
from front to back,
which is in focus

Little depth of field

Greater depth of field = More sharp detail is visible.

Three factors can affect the depth of field:

I. focal length of the lens

II. distance from the camera to the subject

III. the size of the aperture or the setting of the f-stop

I. Focal length of the lens

The depth of field is inversely proportional to the focal length of the lens; that is, the smaller the focal length number of the lens, the greater the depth of field. For example, a 28mm lens has the ability to capture more of the picture in sharp focus than a 100mm lens.

II. Distance from the camera to the subject

Depth of field is directly proportional to distance; i.e. a subject at a greater distance will have greater depth of field than a close-up subject. Therefore, you need not worry as much about a distant subject being out of focus.

III. The size of the aperture or (f-stop)

While changing the aperture (f-stop) will not have a striking effect on the depth of field for a distant subject or a wide angle (short focal length) lens, it can make a great deal of difference in a close-up or a photo taken using a telephoto or zoom lens.

A wider aperture (smaller f-stop number) will result in a shallower depth of field. You can use this to keep either the foreground or background out of focus while maintaining the subject in focus. When changing the aperture setting, you will need to also adjust the shutter to maintain the correct exposure.

Aperture = F5.6
Shutter = 1/1000
Little/Shallow depth of field
Aperture = F22
Shutter = 1/60
Greater/More depth of field

While most photographers take the above factors into account and make adjustments based on experience, or bracket their exposures, it is possible to calculate depth of field using mathematical formulas. If you would like to explore this topic further, check out these sites:

F-number - Wikipedia

Focus plane of a camera and its setting

How to Change the F Stop & How to Set Camera Aperture @

" Look for a command dial on your camera. If it is labeled with an "Av" or "A," it has the ability to set the aperture manually. Some compact digital cameras hide this feature in a menu system. "

Controlling Depth of Field by Changing the Aperture @ with Examples

Depth of Field Calculators

Depth of Field in Your Scenic Pictures

Depth of Field Increases with Distance.

11. How to Get Shallow Depth of Field in Your Digital Photos

A Multifocus Method for Controlling Depth of Field

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